thank you thank you thank you

Last night was spent with two of my best girlfriends pre-cooking for Thanksgiving. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again– I am no cook. My friend Kate, of Cohabiting With Grace and DIY Chair fame, is a culinary school graduate and my co-worker at MK. She throws down in the kitchen. This look of concentration comes over her face when she’s cooking and she’ll be completely silent for minutes at a time. Then there’s me, shredding my beets, trying not to murder my knuckles, blabbering about this or that. Not hard to see why her dishes were finished well before mine, all while she assisted me and answered all my weird food questions: why are the beets two different colors? Are turkeys girls or boys? Should I crumble this blue cheese with my hands? Can I use this (bread) knife to chop onions?

See? Super focused on whatever is in front of her, even when I pull the camera out.

We’re having Thanksgiving at her house later on today with friends and my dad is coming down on the train from Milwaukee to join us. It’s funny– back when I was in my teens you never could have told me I’d have my dad to every single gathering we throw, especially when he is always the only attendee over 35. And now, he gets invited to events my friends have on his own merits; everyone loves him. It doesn’t hurt that he brings incredible vegan pies from the Riverwest Co-op, his daily hangout in Milwaukee.

This year, our turkey comes from Kauffman Farms in Waterman, Illinois. According to their website, Kauffman is one of the last remaining family-run and independent turkey farms in the country.

As to my silly question earlier: turkeys can be male or female, or hens or toms, as they’re called, but the big guys are generally just that, guys. If your turkey is above twenty-two pounds, it’s probably a tom. Other interesting answers from the folks at Kauffman:

Q. Are turkeys really stupid?

A. The best way I can answer this is to say that turkeys have a primitive brain with limited capacity to learn new things. they pretty much get along on their temperament and their instincts. They have adapted well to domestication and are less nervous and flighty than previous generations. Also, their natural sense of curiosity has increased and helps them find food, water, and shelter.

Q. Will a turkey look up when it rains and drown?

A. Believe it or not, otherwise intelligent people actually believe this to be true. We raise thousands of turkeys outside, and have never lost one to drowning in the rain.

Q. Are turkeys mean?

A. As a male turkey gets older he gets very aggressive and fights a lot. As they have patterned on humans, and believe us to be one of them, they will try to pick a fight with you.

The turkey is in a buttermilk brine in Kate’s fridge as I type. I better start moving around and put the coffee down. Have a great Thanksgiving everyone!

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